In July-August 2011, I used to watch the 8.30 pm serial on Star Plus. Funny thing is, I don't even remember its name today. And to be able to watch that, one day, I switched to Star Plus 5 minutes earlier. And heard some thunder and lightning... a clear zinger of a voice narrating the story of Devaki and Kamsa. And a man strode in...his very stance radiating power, magnetism and
strength. I looked. I marvelled.
And I didn't watch. Yes really. I did not want to watch any more serials than I already was. But of course, the compulsion stayed somewhere. The next day, I switched to Star Plus 10 minutes
earlier instead of 5 minutes. It was the Janmashtami episode -- honestly, I was first arrested by Khushi's eagerness, her enthusiasm and her spunk; and then I saw that man again. This time, I saw his eyes. The brown of the best kind. Dark, melting, one moment, darker and piercing slits the next. I looked again. I marvelled again and I was hooked.
I YouTubed my way till Janmashtami.. in a haphazard way. Saw everything tumble jumble. Dhak Dhak it was. I saw it all again.. this time in chronological order. And then randomly googled for
more information on the actors playing the roles. And stumbled into India Forums. And with that, Arnav and Khushi officially entered my bloodstream.
There is much to cherish, much to remember, much to laugh, much to cry about in this journey of 1.5 years. IPK became so much larger than life and part of life; it taught me to relook at the values and principles that mean most to me... it grabbed my hand ASR-like and showed me my inner self, my greatest passions and desires in life; it swivelled me around, ASR-like again, and made me get in touch with the kind of writing and reading I truly enjoy. It made me understand my own life and the love of my life better and more importantly, value it and appreciate how precious it is to have somebody to chant hamesha with; have somebody to have little fights with; have somebody to passionately love; yes indeed, have somebody to rabba ve with. It showed me how ethereal connections with strangers can be; and it gifted me with the delight of reconnecting with the one friend I can tell everything to.
What was it about IPK that made us collectively mad? They looked so gorgeous on screen but it was not just that; He has the perfect widow's peak and she, gloriously radiant skin, but it was not just that; His smirk never ceased to stop the heart and her beautiful smile never failed to warm it but it was not just that; these two just lit up the screen even if they barely looked at each other but it was not just that; they had a family madcap and lovable but it was not just that; they had a bumbling cupid of a villain but it was not just that;
It was magic because every time Arnav turned away from Khushi, every time he shouted that he hates her, every time his brown beautifuls melted looking at her, every time, we heard the yearning in his voice, every time we wished with all our heart for Arnav-Khushi Hamesha, it all coalesced into one single truth. A truth that when spoken aloud or declared bravely makes cynics
laugh and friends chide you for your mawkishness. But that truth remains. Omnia Vincit Amor.
Love conquers all.
It was when the story threatened to deviate from this precious premise that the fans began protesting. This was the fans' victory as much as Arnav and Khushi's -- this forever that we were witness to in the last episode -- however abruptly achieved -- was how it ought to have been. It was never meant to be tampered with.
Thank you for strengthening my belief in love. IPKKND will live. When I am grey and old and have lost my teeth and hair (Arnav might not because Khushi wishes he never...but am not so sure about myself), I will watch old episodes, I will marvel at how mad I was for a year and a half and I might even croak out a 'What the'.
Now to some of my best memories.
These were difficult to choose.. there were so many but I disciplined myself (well, almost) to two per section. So here goes. 1. Most Romantic Scenes
Indulge me, but more than the actual Diwali episode, for me the most romantic moment is when Arnav first spots Khushi amidst the diyas and walks towards her entranced. His eyes reflect desire, a sense of pride at his choice, pure admiration and unadulterated love, all together. One of Barun's best ever scenes, I feel.
Indulge me again, the dargah scene when her pristine white dupatta caresses his face and he turns and searches for its owner, longingly. I could smell her perfume there almost, just like I know he did. For me she would smell something lemony and something of the lily of the valley..sharp but not overpowering. There are many others like the fairy lights untangling, the guesthouse rescue, the stars conversation after maa's kangan, the hospital benedictory pat on her head...but dammit I had to choose!2. Most sensuous scenes
The first would have to be the gentle pressure of his brown fingers on her pretty fair feet after the sprain is taken care of and she is about to lift her feet from his thigh.
The second is after the water fight in the office. She turns towards him in anger and her wet lustrous hair hits him square on his face and his heart stops for a microsecond in spite of his anger
(mine did too). You can clearly see desire flash in his eyes in that instant.
Oh damn. I have to have a third. It has to be, has to be, 'Hogaya' after bending down in such sexy slow motion, stopping to see her reaction and prising out the bangle piece from her wrist. And looking up with his teeth still holding the piece.Whew.
And a fourth. The Haldi rub. One of the best screenplay writing instances that manages to showcase breathless intimacy and passion with the leads barely touching each other, forget kissing. 3. Most Powerful scenes
1. Surefire first. The 'I hate you' scene by the poolside. The angst, anguish and the undeniable passion when they say I hate you, the heaviness of their hearts raw in their eyes... I am tempted to label this the best ever scene of IPK...it defines everything about the story. Nafrat paas aane na de.. mohabbat door jane na de
2. After Arnav discovers Khushi and Shyam on the terrace.. he walks like a zombie to his room, wrenches off his coat and sits numb on the edge of his bed...his eyes bloodshot, his hands trembling but covering his face, the horror of his situation, palpable. I thought this was even more powerful than the actual breakdown scene.
3. The kidnap 'I love you'. I may be in a minority here.. but I loved the entire kidnapping track and the intensity it brought to the love story. His 'I love you' on phone, almost physically pulled out of him...his recognising that she was crying and gruffly asking her to stop doing so.... while she was barely breathing into the phone -- classic stuff.
2. Most Funny Scenes
1. 'Din bhar khelte rehte hain' to Om Prakash followed by Arnav's befuddled 'ajeeb ho tum'. I laughed my guts out. That entire episode actually.
2. The heartbeat test.. has something like this ever been attempted by any heroine? Nope. Neither in movies nor on television.
Oh well. One more. The Dadi-Mami-NK confrontation in the hilarious episode of bed breaking. Priceless. I found the entire ASR flirting track during Payash wedding romantic, sensuous and funny. There's no contesting that 'Hi'. A simple Hi! invested with so much sensuality. So no classifications possible here. All the scenes in that track are special, very special. If this track was the best, the best week of episodes was during Holi. The highlight being Arnav gazing enraptured at Khushi...'she's beeeeautiful". He is too. 3. IPK Quirks
1. The mysterious poolside. Where was it actually located? How was it that it could be seen from the living room and yet whenever Khushi and Arnav had their intense moments, nobody could see them? How was it that Arnav's room was reached by stairs and yet the pool belonged to his room? Did Anjali have a separate pool or she shared it with Arnav? You get the drift. The magical poolside.
2. ASR's closet or Moody's magical trunk. Err umm.. only one closet. He apparently kept everything there including his two and a half suits, one and a half fake Hermes shoes, Singhania's file (ok, ok it got lost but it was there before alright?), his will (hellow!), extra bedcovers, maa's kangan and presumably also his assorted Khushi souvenir collection -- pearls, pom-poms, torn dupatta ends and what not. And then to top this, Khushi also kept all her stuff there including her mojris and chameli ka tel. And it still had space for her to sit inside and mull about Sheetal. Go, figure. Epilogue: While revisiting some old scenes, I spotted a smaller white boxy wardrobe kinda thing on his wall where he kept err..Khushi's pearls. Which for reasons unknown disappeared in the later episodes. The boxy wardrobe, not the pearls.
3. Everything in mami's room in one episode was polka-dotted. Her nightdress, the pillow covers, heck even the curtains. And in Akash's room, the dominant colour was lurid pink. Freudian much?
4. The super-efficient invisible robot called Aman. Am I glad we never saw him! Am sure his family didn't ever either.
5. The mystery of the full plate of almonds and two pickle jars that were a constant in Nani's room. 6. The Prakash brothers. Enough said. IPK-isms and favourite one-liners.
Oh they have got into my own lexicon.
Adding a 'wa' for everybody and everything, even though often it is only in my own mind.
Keeping track of real-life Rabba Ves.. ;)
Aap bhi na!Hum ho do nandkisor!Hullo Hi bye bye!!
Thoda dard hoga
Lagi Shart (the sexiest challenge ever)
Ab theek hain
Main nahi jaanta tha ki tum mujhe itney kareeb se observe karte ho.
Last mein kya tha (roll the tongue ladies!) followed by Let's start backwards (now roll the R)Kuch Kuch hota hain Arnavji...aap nahi samjhoge. Followed by 'What Crap'. 'I'm waiting'. Followed by deadly smirk.
Tum theek ho? It always sounded like I love you to me. And it was always a question and an answer both. Sigh. And all IPK's vintage unfinished dialogues...
Farak padtha hain kyunki...
Of course Farak padtha hain dammit kyunki main...
Aap he aise chale jayenge toh hum saans hi...
and of course, the ultimate unfinished line
What the!Thank Yous
Waise, thank you to the entire cast.. especially mami, Nani and Buaji... nuanced and memorable role-playing. But my special thanks to these four.Barun Sobti.
For embodying everything that I had grown up imagining about Mills and Boon Heroes and taking it beyond. Much beyond. For managing to be Darcy, Heathcliff, Rochester, Roark, Rhett all rolled into one. Not just tall, dark and handsome but also smirky, sexy, furious, witty, snarky. You played everything fantastically Barun. You played ASR with aplomb and you were adorable as Arnav. I have discussed, thrashed, analysed and observed your every frown, every lift of the eyebrow, every kind of half-smirk; every sinew in your strong forearms. And many more unmentionables here. I am a decent, mature 33-year-old good girl after all. I have celebrated when you have laughed; I have cried when you have and I have had unshed tears when you didn't shed them. You have made it impossible for me to conjure up another face whenever I read any romantic novel now...which of course, I read again to imagine you. Thank you. Sanaya Irani.
I truly believe there couldn't have been another Khushi. It was a stroke of genius to get you to play her... you brought to life the child-woman who is as much a pillar of this story as ASR is. ASR wouldn't have been so iconic a character if you hadn't played Khushi with such sincerity and dedication. I loved your comic timing, I loved your sankapan and I 'farak' your tears. You were just the perfect foil for ASR... without you, it wouldn't have been the same. Thank you. Raju Singh.
There is never ever a love story that tugs at the heart without apt music. Arnav and Khushi wouldn't be Arshi without Rabba Ve. And there would be no Rabba Ve without your genius. Our unsung hero, I wish I could hug you for giving us Rabba Ve, for the title song that makes me want to sing it to Arnav --tujhko dekh kar aankhen muskurane lagte hain...for the rousing, triumphant ASR background tune and of course, for Daiyya Ho. How many villains can boast of a background tune that is as enticing as the hero's. It is perhaps a rarity by itself that the background music of a serial was loved so much -- just goes to further showcase how perfect it was. Take a bow.
The hardworking extra who doubled up as err... everything. Driver, worker in office, random walking guy near Gupta House, random guy eating noodles in Italian restaurant, random guy walking by when Khushi is out kidnapper-hunting, courier boy, random clapper for sangeet and assorted functions at RM. And Khushi's body double who did all the above AND served as a body double. And was one of the contestants in Mrs India. And was one of the mothers during Aarav's drum contest. And got bashed and envied often for just doing her job. So thank you!Catharsis over. Done. If anybody who reads this is wondering where you can catch all the scenes I mention, you can go to Ismailvegamze's YouTube channel here: http://www.youtube.com/user/ismailvegamze
, or here: http://www.youtube.com/user/DIsmailvegamze
, or here: http://www.youtube.com/user/DLoveScenes Thank you to Ismailvegamze too. What would we, the hopelessly addicted, have done without you!
Here's just a sample. My all-time favourite scene.